Alaska – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/05/2012 in Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations, Scouting
Tags: , , ,

This is a continuing series – it starts HERE.

Alaska

Is the information easy to find?

Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game was the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

Whitetail deer aren’t found in Alaska, therefore for this state the analysis will use Sitka deer as a substitute. (Note – Sitka deer are only in the southern coastal areas.) The website is easy to navigate, with information found exactly where you would expect it to be based on the text and links. For information on big game hunting, the 2012-2013 Alaska Hunting Regulations PDF file is the best source.

Grade: A

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

Over the counter and internet purchases are readily available. There are some lottery hunts, however deer and most species aren’t based on a lottery.  Alaska’s web page explains the reasoning behind this quite well:

“When a population of animals is too small and/or the potential number of hunters too large to allow a general season or a registration hunt, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) may offer drawing permits. A Drawing Permit Hunt Supplement is published every spring, typically in May. The drawing for permit hunts is held in early summer, and everyone who applies will be notified of the results by mail or can look up the results on ADF&G’s website.”

Grade: A-

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

A resident annual hunting license is $25.00, a non-resident annual hunting license is $85, with additional 1, 3, 7 and 14 day sport-fishing licenses that can be added to the annual hunting license. Non-resident deer tags are $150, however as with most tags in Alaska, special pricing exists for members of the military, and in the case of deer hunting the tags are FREE. (Members of the military can also obtain free tags for black bear, bison, caribou, elk, goat, moose, sheep, wolf and wolverine.)  The cost of other big game species is roughly half for military members.

Grade: A

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

Yes and no: it takes a new user a few minutes of reading to find that the big game species are actually tied to the 26 Game Management Units; a page with a simple chart on it have been much easier to read, and much easier to update.  Once hunters choose a Game Management Unit, planning actually becomes a bit more complicated. As an example, Unit 26, the Arctic Slope, is further broken into three areas, then broken down by residents only, residents and non-residents, and non-residents only.  The easiest way to plan based on this system is to choose a species first, then a Game Management Unit, after which the dates will be simple to determine.

Grade: B

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

A vast amount of Alaska is available to the public, and while the rules vary greatly with the amount of land and incredibly difficult terrain, a genuine need exists for the amount of regulations.

Grade: A-

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Chronic Wasting Disease has not been detected in Alaska at this time.  Other issues would be the cost of getting to Alaska and the level of physical fitness needed to actively hunt some of the terrain, however neither of those issues can be altered by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Grade: A

Summary: Total Grade A-

The website for Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game is relatively easy to use and understand, other than the actual hunting season dates.  The lottery system is only for species with very limited populations, which is good management.  The pricing of licenses is surprisingly low for deer.

When looking at the hunting seasons, the only real recommendations I would have at this point would be to place more emphasis on the hunting season dates link, possibly by giving it a link on the ‘Regulations’ side menu, and to find a way to simplify the information.  Even something as simple as a search link with ‘Game Management Unit’ and a drop down, then a ‘Species’ drop down witch returns JUST the results you need.   I think it would be very easy to get confused by some of these regulations as it stands now.

As for public hunting, Alaska’s public hunting acreage is probably twice the size of some entire states.  I would love to hunt there, but with my current budget, that’s a ‘put another quarter in the jar’ project at the current time.

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